JULY 13, 1946
HYDE PARK, Friday—It was a shock which brought with it a real sense of personal loss when I heard of the death of Sidney Hillman. He was one of our citizens who, having come here from a foreign country, had absorbed the love of freedom and an understanding of democracy, so that he brought real statesmanship to the labor movement. For the people in his own union, he always worked unselfishly, with a broad vision both of the needs of labor and of the responsibility of labor to the community as a whole as it gained power.
Mr. Hillman was a good negotiator and knew how to conciliate different factions. And his European background gave him an understanding of international problems which was valuable in labor fields and valuable in his service to the United States Government.
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Yesterday I had a few guests to luncheon, and then took them over to the Wiltwyck School, where we saw the boys at their craft work. Some little boys who had come there in a very cowed frame of mind were painting happily in a big, light room. I could not help feeling again a sense of satisfaction at the evident contentment that reigned among them.
In the evening, five members of the Gold Star Wives of World War II came here for supper, and then we went to Poughkeepsie. The Lafayette Post of the American Legion had given them permission to use a room for a meeting. It was a very small meeting, though the casualties among servicemen from Dutchess County were pretty high.
I do not know whether the organization will be able to build a local chapter which will be of value to widows of World War II, but I enjoyed meeting the few young women who were there last night. And I think it may be a help to them to get to know other young women who have many of the same problems and the same hopes for the future.
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They discussed some of the bills in Congress which affect the widows of the war. And Mrs. Edward H. Jordan, national president of the organization, who has just come back from a trip abroad during which she visited many of the U.S. cemeteries in Europe, gave them a description of how the work on these was proceeding. I think she left them with a great sense of confidence, for she told them of the interest which the men in charge had shown, of the thoroughness with which the work was being done, and of the kindness of all those concerned.
She described the ceremonies held on Memorial Day in one of the big cemeteries in Holland, which 40,000 people attended. Gen. Joseph T. McNarney and Princess Juliana of the Netherlands were both present at ceremonies at two large cemeteries during the day. And other important people attended the ceremonies at other cemeteries.
It is a comfort to know that these graves are well cared for and not forgotten, and that, in the Pacific as well as in Europe, this care is assured by our own government.